Cell Gadgets Review – 2014 part II

by Alexey Bersenev on September 12, 2014 · 0 comments

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RegenMed and Cell Gadgets series is an overview of “smart devices”, biochips, matrices and biomaterials for research and therapy.

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1. Remote control of engineered photo-switchable cells
Can you imagine a possibility to control of spacial organization 3D microtissues in culture remotely? It’s blowing my mind guys, because it’s possible now! Group of researchers demonstrated that engineering of cell surface can provide a remote control to on-demand assembly and differentiation of cells in culture:

We report a general cell surface molecular engineering strategy via liposome fusion delivery to create a dual photo-active and bio-orthogonal cell surface for remote controlled spatial and temporal manipulation of microtissue assembly and disassembly.

Possibilities of cells remote control via surface engineering could be enormous:

New methods that rewire cell surfaces with the capability to control cell interconnectivity in space and time would allow for further exploration of a range of fundamental cell behavior studies and provide new ways to install imaging probes, advance cell based biotechnologies and accelerate regenerative medicine and tissue engineering based therapies.

2. Bone marrow-on-a-chip
Bone marrow is a new addition to the list of “organs-on-chip”, created by Wyss Institute. Technology of functionality of novel engineered bone marrow described in Nature Methods:

The engineered bone marrow (eBM) retains hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in normal in vivo–like proportions for at least 1 week in culture. eBM models organ-level marrow toxicity responses and protective effects of radiation countermeasure drugs, whereas conventional bone marrow culture methods do not.

Learn more from this video:

3. Bioinspired 3D-printed device to detoxify the blood
Bioengineers from UCSD described detoxifying device, inspired by liver structure:

… a research team led by nanoengineering professor Shaochen Chen created a 3D-printed hydrogel matrix to house nanoparticles, forming a device that mimics the function of the liver by sensing, attracting and capturing toxins routed from the blood. The device, which is in the proof-of-concept stage, mimics the structure of the liver but has a larger surface area designed to efficiently attract and trap toxins within the device. In an in vitro study, the device completely neutralized pore-forming toxins.

The study published in Nature Communications.

4. Cell sort-on-chip using sound waves
Researchers from MIT described a new method of cell sorting on a chip, using sound waves. Unlike previous similar chips, the authors modified device by tilting sound waves:

This simple modification dramatically boosts the efficiency of such devices, says Taher Saif, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “That is just enough to make cells of different sizes and properties separate from each other without causing any damage or harm to them,” says Saif, who was not involved in this work.

In the study, the authors successfully demonstrated that device could be used for separation of circulating tumor cells.

Learn more from this video:

5. Heart-on-chip for high throughput pharmacology
One more very cool chip from Wyss Institute. It was designed for high throughput studies in pharmacology.

The higher throughput fluidic heart on a chip has applications in testing of cardiac tissues built from rare or expensive cell sources and for integration with other organ mimics. These advances will help alleviate translational barriers for commercial adoption of these technologies by improving the throughput and reproducibility of readout, standardization of the platform and scalability of manufacture.

Implementation of automation in chip fabrications and its design for high throughput testing will significantly accelerate commercialization of this technology.

6. Electromagnetic device for digital control of cells
Researchers from South Korea, applied the principles of microelecrotics to fabricate electromagnetic circuits for cell sorting. GEN reports:

The team expects that the cell-sorting system will revolutionize research by allowing the fast, efficient control and separation of individual cells that could then be studied in vast numbers.

These patterns create magnetic tracks and elements like switches, transistors, and diodes that guide magnetic beads and single cells tagged with magnetic nanoparticles through a thin liquid film.

Scalability of such printed “easy-to-fabricate” device will allow rapid commercialization.

7. Platelet Biochip
One more chip to model bone marrow microenvironment was created by new start-up from Boston Platelet Biogenesis. From news release:

Platelet BioGenesis’ biochip has two chambers with a perforated barrier in between. One chamber mimics the bone marrow micro-environment, and the other mimics the blood vessel micro-environment. The company sources stem cells from partners who generate megakaryocytes, which are then inserted into the bone marrow chamber. The cells extend proplatelets into the blood vessel chamber that eventually break off, as they do in humans.

Detailed description of platelet-on-chip you can find in Blood journal.

8. Optical cell separation in 3D cultures
Japanese researchers reported new cell separation technique, based on photodegradable hydrogels:

Local light irradiation could degrade the hydrogel corresponding to the micropattern image designed on a laptop; minimum resolution of photodegradation was estimated at 20 µm. Light irradiation separated an encapsulated fluorescent microbead without any contamination of neighbor beads, even at multiple targets. Upon selective separation of target cells in the hydrogels, the separated cells have grown on another dish, resulting in pure culture.

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